Hamster Wheels and Holodecks

Well, the news is out again. Gallup’s latest faith poll showed church membership is “down sharply”[1] over the past two decades. Relevant Magazine recently reported that young people are leaving the church due to perceived judgment and hypocrisy [2]. These types of reports are all the more common today, and it is getting harder for church leaders to navigate the …

Five-Fold Proclamation

I was trained by one of the 20th Century’s “Princes of Preaching.” And, “no” that isn’t an exaggeration.   In 1996, Haddon Robinson was named in a Baylor University poll as one of the “12 Most Effective Preachers in the English Speaking World.” In 2006, he was recognized by Christianity Today in the top 10 of its “25 Most Influential Preachers of …

Building Church Diversity

Building diverse spaces that span ethnicity, gender, age, and sexuality requires intentional design. In a previous post I discussed the importance for churches to embody diversity. It reflects unity in diversity demonstrated first in the Trinity. Yet in practice our churches are some of the most segregated spaces in the country. This is also a product of intentional design which …

Feelings vs Commitments

If you’re a church planter like me, then you’re aware that there’s been a growing emphasis on the 5-fold person gifts found in Ephesians 4:11-16: And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the …

Will Your Church Plant Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Can I make a confession? I love zombie stories.The “zombie apocalypse” genre has always fascinated me, for some reason. I find myself attracted to movies, TV shows, and books that feature some version of a zombie apocalypse and what happens afterward.Part of the reason I think I’m interested is because of the questions these stories evoke: What remains when all the …

The Mechanics and Spirituality of Trust

Trusting others is always a risk. Many kingdom leaders get burnt and slowly clam up or lose the ability to keep loving and trusting those around us. It is vital for church planters to consider how this issue of “trust” is influencing their life and relationships. I believe there are two aspects of trust: (1) the mechanics of trust (how …

Statistically Significant

Christianity Today put out a recent statistic on just how much a decline the religion is facing today … in an astounding trending data set, within the past half century, all of the religions including differing denominations have been either a.) incrementally sloping down in numbers or b.) flatlining and experiencing no new growth.  Only one religion bucked the trend …

Narratives in Silence

“We are shaped by our stories. And these stories, or narratives are running and (often ruining) our lives.” [James Bryan Smith][1] Discerning God’s direction in life is often messy and confusing. The stories that we have picked up in life often times do not serve us well. We need regular periods of silence to help us identify these stories, examine …

Why Listening is the First Step of Evangelism

Normally we think of evangelism as a process of telling. We are proclaiming or sharing something. And it is that, of course, but I’ve become more and more convinced that effective evangelism starts with listening. Here’s the thing: most evangelism strategies focus only on the telling part. They help people figure out what to say, how to present, the right things to proclaim. One size does NOT …